Vultee Aircraft, Inc.
  • Airplane Development Corporation
  • AVCO Aviation Manufacturing Corporation
Founded1939; 85 years ago (1939)
Defunct1943; 81 years ago (1943)
FateMerged with Consolidated Aircraft to form Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation

Vultee Aircraft, Inc.,[1] was an aircraft manufacturer founded in 1939 in Los Angeles County, California, when the Vultee Aircraft Division of the aviation holding company AVCO was reorganized as an independent company.[2][3] It had limited success before merging with the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation on March 17–18, 1943, to form the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation − or Convair.[1][4]


1936-built Vultee V-1 executive aircraft, displayed at the Virginia Aviation Museum.

In 1932, Errett Lobban Cord formed the Airplane Development Corporation, enabling Gerard "Jerry" Vultee to proceed with implementing his design for the Vultee V-1. Construction began in Burbank, California, and was completed in February 1933 in the company's factory located at Grand Central Airport (California).[5]

AVCO subsidiary

Due to the Air Mail Act of 1934, AVCO established the Aviation Manufacturing Corporation (AMC) on November 30, 1934, through the acquisition of Cord's holdings, including Vultee's Airplane Development Corporation. AMC was liquidated on January 1, 1936, and Vultee Aircraft Division was formed as an autonomous subsidiary of AVCO.

Jerry Vultee was named vice president and chief engineer.[3] Vultee acquired the assets of the defunct AMC, including Lycoming Engines and Stinson Aircraft Company.

A redesigned V-1 meet American Airlines' needs in the eight-passenger V-1A. American purchased 11 V-1As, but additional sales of the aircraft failed to materialize because of government concerns for single engine safety. The last two in the series, a V-1AD and a V-1AS, were built in Downey, California after the company's manufacturing moved there.[5]

In 1935, Vultee developed the Vultee V-11 military aircraft using the wing structure and landing gear from the V-1A, which received sizable international orders. Turkey received 40 in 1937-38, China received 30 in 1937-38, Brazil acquired 25 in 1938-39; the Soviet Union bought 4 and the manufacturing license to build 31 more. After Jerry Vultee's death in January 1938, the Air Corps ordered 7 YA-19s to establish a production relationship.[5]: 5, 20–47 

By 1937, Vultee headed his own factory in Downey, California, with more than a million dollars in orders for V-1s, V-1As, and V-11s.[3]

In 1938, before Vultee became independent again, Jerry Vultee and his wife Sylvia Parker, daughter of Twentieth Century Fox film director Max Parker,[3] died in late January when the plane he was piloting crashed in a snowstorm near Sedona, Arizona.[6]

A bronze plaque memorializing the Vultees is located near the crash site at the end of Coconino Forestry and Vultee Arch Trails, where a natural rock arch named for them, the Vultee Arch, is located.[7] Donald P. Smith, Vultee's close friend and vice president of Vultee Aircraft, wrote a letter to TIME magazine about Vultee's death:


''Gerard F. Vultee ("Jerry"), not Gerald, my close friend and business associate for many years, was killed when the cabin monoplane he was flying with Mrs. Vultee crashed on the flat top of Wilson Mountain [TIME, Feb. 7]. ... Caught in a local snow-storm and blizzard with no training in blind or instrument flying, he was unable to find his way out. The fire occurred after the crash, not before.
DON P. SMITH Vice President
Vultee Aircraft Los Angeles, Calif.[8]

Hanging an engine on a BT-13 Valiant trainer at the Vultee aircraft plant, Downey, California in World War II.[9]

AVCO hired Dick Palmer away from Howard Hughes to take Jerry Vultee's place, and Vultee Aircraft Division began to develop military designs. Dick Palmer created the BT-13, BT-15, and SNV Valiant trainers[3] and oversaw other major production program such as the V-72 Vengeance, serving in the USAAC as the A-31 and A-35.

Independent company

Vultee Aircraft was created in November 1939, when Vultee Aircraft Division of AVCO was reorganized as an independent company.[10][3]

The P-66 Vanguard was a 1941 fighter program that was intended for Sweden that was inherited by the USAAC, Great Britain and finally, China. The P-66 had a mediocre combat record in China and was out of service by 1943. The XP-54 fighter project was the last Vultee Aircraft design, but only two examples were built.[11][12][13]

In 1939, according to Thompson, "The Vultee model 54A, number 141 registered NX21754, flew on July 28. In August the USAAC selected it for volume production as the BT-13, which became the standard type for the category throughout World War II." During the war, Vultee pioneered the use of women assemblers.[5]: 66, 75 


On March 17–18, 1943, Consolidated and Vultee merged, creating Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, popularly known as Convair.[14] The Vultee management resigned.[13][15][1]


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Model name, service name First flight Number built Type
V-1 1933 25 Single engine airliner
V-11 YA-19 1935 169 Single engine attack aircraft
V-12 1939 79 Development of V-11
V-51 BC-3 1939 1 Prototype single engine basic combat trainer
V-54 BT-13 & BT-15 Valiant 1939 11,538 Single engine basic trainer
V-48 P-66 Vanguard 1939 146 Single engine fighter
V-72 Vengeance 1941 1,931 Single engine dive bomber
V-84 XP-54 1943 2 Prototype twin boom pusher engine fighter
V-90 XA-41 1944 1 Prototype single engine dive bomber
XP-68 Tornado n/a 0 Unbuilt development of V-84



  1. ^ a b c "January 31, 1944 : General Corporation and Investment News, Vol. 159, No. 4251". p. 444. Retrieved 2023-06-18. The earnings are the combined figures of Consolidated Aircraft Corp. and Vultee Aircraft, Inc., which were merged March 18, 1943.—V. 159, p. 348
  2. ^ Parker, Dana T. Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II, pp. 107–120, Cypress, CA, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Yenne 2009, p. 17.
  4. ^ "Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation". Retrieved 2023-06-18.
  5. ^ a b c d Thompson, Jonathan. Vultee Aircraft 1932-1947. Santa Ana: Narkiewicz//Thompson. pp. 6–19. ISBN 0913322024.
  6. ^ "Burned bodies of pair recovered". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 31, 1938. p. 1.
  7. ^ "Coconino National Forest." USDA Forest Service. Retrieved: 26 August 2010.
  8. ^ "Davis-Monthan Field Register." Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved: 26 September 2010
  9. ^ Parker, Dana T. Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II, pp. 107, 110–13, Cypress, CA, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9897906-0-4.
  10. ^ Parker, Dana T. Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II, pp. 107–120, Cypress, CA, 2013.
  11. ^ Herman, Arthur. Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, pp. 140, 203, 262–3, Random House, New York, NY, 2012.
  12. ^ Parker, Dana T. Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II, pp. 107–120, Cypress, CA, 2013. ISBN 978-0-9897906-0-4.
  13. ^ a b Borth, Christy. Masters of Mass Production, p. 251, Bobbs-Merrill Co., Indianapolis, IN, 1945.
  14. ^ Yenne 2009, p. 18.
  15. ^ Parker, Dana T. Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II, p. 114, Cypress, CA, 2013.
  16. ^ Thompson, John (8 August 1940). "Vultee Buys Stinson Airplane Factory for Big Expansion Here". Nashville Tennessean. p. 6. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Vultee Aircraft Buys Intercontinent". Evening Sun. AP. 18 July 1942. p. 11.